Thursday, June 24, 2004

Copyright and FOI

An important posting on the JISCmail FOI discussion list by Tim Padfield, Copyright Officer, Secretary of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Council on National Records and Archives about "the implications of supplying a copy of a copyright document in response to an FoI request, government lawyers have come round to a view that this could infringe."

(brief excert):

"It is now the view of government lawyers in the Department for Constitutional
Affairs and DTI that the FoIA does not 'specifically authorise' the making
of a copy. All it authorises is the supply of information. If the making of
a copy in order to supply that information would infringe copyright, it is
not 'reasonably practicable' to supply the copy, and the information must be
supplied in some other form. The most likely form is as a summary or
paraphrase which does not use a substantial part of the original text's own
form of expression, but the Act also allows for access to the information by
allowing the person to inspect the original document. The latter is
presumably the only solution for information which is visual....Official guidance will be published on the issue in due course."


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